The police on Sunday said that they have not booked the builder or the owner of the five-storeyed Piyush building that collapsed in Dahisar on Saturday, claiming seven lives, and are seeking legal opinion to determine if anybody could be held responsible for the mishap.
The builder, who was to redevelop the building, does not seem to have failed to take the prescribed precautionary measures for dilapidated buildings, the Dahisar police said.
Ansar Pirjade, senior inspector of Dahisar police station, said the builder had put up boards near the building’s compound wall cautioning people against going close to the structure.
“The matter is in court for a date to demolish the building. We are looking at whether negligence led to the mishap, but so far we have not come across anything. Investigation is underway, but nobody has been booked so far.
If we ascertain that there was negligence, appropriate action will be taken,” he said.
The police have also established that the watchman, Mansingh Lamsal, who escaped unhurt but lost three of his family members in the mishap, had moved his family into the structure without permission.
“The watchman’s family arrived from their hometown in Nepal a week ago and since then they had been living in the premises without permission. The developer and the building owner were unaware that his family was staying there,” Pirjade said.
The building, located at Yashwantrao Tawde Road near Dahisar station (east), was constructed in 1980.
Four years later, the residents reportedly sold their flats to a businessman who set up a diamond cutting and polishing unit there.
Residents of neighbouring buildings allege that he tampered with the foundation of the building, which weakened it. In 2010, the building was declared dangerous by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and vacated.
The police are now waiting for the BMC’s report on the case filed against the developer after the building started being used for commercial instead of residential purposes in 1984.
“As Sunday is a holiday, the BMC has not submitted its report. We should be able to get it on Monday.
It will help us get details about the building’s structural condition, arguments about it and the long-standing dispute between the society and the developer,” said a police official, on condition of anonymity.